Do you watch the news? If you do, you probably already know that the world can be a violent place. Across the globe, wars are being waged in all sorts of places. Although the reasons for fighting vary from country to country and region to region, one thing remains the same: wars destroy many homes and lives every year.
Many people and organizations work to make peace in areas where wars rage on. Sometimes peace can be achieved with the help of worldwide organizations, such as the United Nations. At other times, it might be peacemakers within a warring country's government that strive for and ultimately achieve peace.
Each year, one person or organization is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for “the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses." The Nobel Peace Prize is an international prize awarded annually by the Norwegian Nobel Committee according to the rules set forth in the will of Alfred Nobel.
The prize consists of a medal, a personal diploma and a large sum of money (currently well over $1 million United States dollars). However, the real honor is the worldwide recognition of receiving what many consider to be the world's most prestigious prize. To date, over 100 individuals and over 20 organizations have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Nobel was a Swedish inventor and armaments manufacturer known for inventing dynamite. Perhaps because of the use of his invention in warfare, Nobel became very interested in the process of peace and, upon his death, funded a series of prizes to be awarded each year for peace, chemistry, physics, medicine and literature.
Consistent with Nobel's will, the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded each year (with a few exceptions) since 1901. Each year, the winner is selected by a five-member Norwegian Nobel Committee appointed by the Norwegian Parliament.
Because of its relation to current affairs and modern worldwide politics, the Nobel Peace Prize is often the subject of some controversy. Some famous past winners of the Nobel Peace Prize include Henry Kissinger, the Dalai Lama, Shimon Peres, Menachem Begin, Yasser Arafat, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama.